On our very first plane flight with Grant, I was super nervous. I asked around to plenty of other moms for tips, tricks, and advice – the biggest one was that it was no big deal. Infants are super easy on plane flights – just feed them on take off and landing so their ears don’t pop, and you are fine.
Since Grant was just shy of the 4 month mark for that first flight, it really was no big deal. He pretty much just ate, slept, and hung out. He was one happy little guy. Even happier after a monster blowout 😉
Now that Grant is 5 months old, he has really started with a lot of activity. He is constantly looking around, grabbing for things, and always wants to be a part of the action. This also means he is no where near as interested in falling asleep if there isn’t a lot going on. He wants us to entertain him.
Don’t board the plane right away
Yep, you read that right. Even though most airlines give families priority boarding, don’t use it! You end up sitting on the plane for way too long before even taking off. If you wait until closer to the end, your baby can play some more before being confined to your lap for the next couple of hours. This leads me to my next point…
Bring an extra blanket
This blanket can be laid out on the ground while you are waiting to board, and then thrown in your bag and not used again until it is washed. Grant loves to play on his back and spend time on his tummy – both things you can not do once you get on a plane. We kept him playing on the ground until the 3rd boarding group was ready to get on. We only spent a few minutes actually waiting on the plane before take off and nursing time. Big win!
Sit next to a grandma
I know this sounds funny, but it is so true. We lucked out both times going to and from Detroit. When Grant decided to have the biggest blow out EVER, our seat mate had no problem getting up and letting us change him right then and there (we did this because there were no changing tables on the plane we were on). Grandmas have been through this, time and time again. The squirming and sounds of a baby don’t bother them. They are pretty much immune to it
Wear your baby through the airport
Wearing your baby is the way to go. You can walk right through security without having to mess with your baby at all. If you end up keeping them in the car seat, you will end up having to take them out before you can go through the metal detector. If your baby falls asleep before that time, you are risking waking them up – big no no!
Bring more than one extra outfit
At the last-minute, I grabbed an extra outfit from our suitcase, on top of the one I had already packed. When we walked off the plane in Tampa, Grant was in his 3rd outfit of the day. Yes, he wore both outfits we had packed for him. I was so happy I grabbed that last change of clothes – he really needed it!
Of course, this is just a preference (and something we didn’t do this trip). They let families board between the “A” and the “B” group, so you don’t have to get on first, but you also are able to get on with plenty of space to grab ahead of the other passengers. All of their planes are the same, so you know there are going to be changing tables in every bathroom. The biggest and best part – there are no fees for checked bags! When we went to Detroit, we ended up going with Delta because they had a cheaper direct flight. In the end, once we paid to check our bags on the way up and the way back, it was definitely more than it would have been on Southwest. We were always people who carried everything on in the past. I am pretty sure those days are behind us, at least for a few years. Who would have thought a baby needs so much stuff!?
This, of course, isn’t always possible, but give it your best shot. Not having to deplane and go through another round of take offs, landings, and layovers is definitely preferred when you have a baby in tow. Direct flights are sometimes pricier, but for me, it is worth the premium (to an extent).
Wear Dark Clothes
So I mentioned above that I brought extra outfits for Grant. Well, I should have listened to this for myself. I brought an extra shirt with me, but didn’t bring extra pants. Needless to say, when Mt. Vesuvius erupted, my jeans took a beating. Luckily, they were such a dark wash that nothing could even be seen on them. I will definitely continue to wear dark colors when we fly, and maybe even bring extra pants for myself as well.
When your baby starts screaming on the plane and you feel like everyone is looking at you – don’t worry about it. The same situation has happened to just about every parent who has ever flown at some point. It isn’t ideal, but there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. Keep calm so hopefully your baby will too!